Friday, April 6, 2007

Remember the anthrax letters?

Cernig put up a post over at NewsHog questioning the credibility of ABC news, and used the case of the Anthrax letters as an example. Basically, there were repeated attempts to tie the anthrax spores to Iraq. This was absolutely false.
Capitol Hill Anthrax Matches Army's Stocks
5 Labs Can Trace Spores to Ft. Detrick
by Rick Weiss and Susan Schmidt
Genetic fingerprinting studies indicate that the anthrax spores mailed to Capitol Hill are identical to stocks of the deadly bacteria maintained by the U.S. Army since 1980, according to scientists familiar with the most recent tests.

Although many laboratories possess the Ames strain of anthrax involved in this fall's bioterrorist attacks, only five laboratories so far have been found to have spores with perfect
genetic matches to those in the Senate letters, the scientists said. And all those labs can trace back their samples to a single U.S. military source: the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Md.

"That means the original source [of the terrorist material] had to have been USAMRIID," said one of the scientists.

I have a bit of inside knowledge about the case because I worked at Northern Arizona University at the time. NAU is the base for the lab of Dr. Paul Keim, who's one of the worlds top anthrax researchers. Because I was one of many who had access to that lab, I was interviewed by the FBI as part of the investigation. The interview was somewhat surreal, with the FBI repeatedly asking about "middle eastern males" who might have gained access to the lab (which by the way didn't have anywhere near the quantities used in the attack). I was asked multiple times if I'd seen any suspicious activity by "middle eastern males", and it really bothered me that the FBI had ruled out any American suspects.
The genetic fingerprinting finding was made by a research team led by geneticist Paul Keim at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, which has been comparing the Ames strain bacteria found in the Senate letters to other Ames strain samples retrieved from nature and from various university and government laboratories.

It seems the most logical suspect had to have inside access to Fort Detrick, and more specifically to the bioweapons lab. In short, it was an inside job. I'm not saying a government sanctioned hit, but whoever mailed the letters to two top democratic senators worked for the facility.
added: Blogger is giving me a headache on changing font sizes.


Demeur said...

All I know is in the event of another anthrax event I'm on a list of poor sobs who'll have to clean it up. You think our government bothered to inform us that we're on the list? Noooo. Have we been given the proper training to deal with this? No.

Added: I just wish I could get my links to work

Anonymous said...

YEs, the anthrax atacks have been forgotten by many but that was the real attack of consequence. It was US military grade anthrax, our own bio-weapons used against ourselves. I remember the targets were interesting, US democrat Senators and the National Enquirer...kinda strange, but I would figure it was done by a right wing fundie.

Rick Janes said...

There was a story that the National Enquirer reporter killed by anthrax was researching a 9/11 piece that didn't make the Bushies look good.

It is worth an investigation by Congress to find out why, five years later, the FBI doesn't know who did this, particularly because they knew within 48 hours who flew the planes on 9/11.

Just wondering: if this had been a threat to Bush or Cheney, how long the FBI would have gone without an arrest?

whig said...

I have no special knowledge of the facts of this case, I have read accusations of a Dr. Philip Zack as being possibly involved or responsible. Allegedly he then was forced to leave Ft Detrick and went to work for Donald Rumsfeld's old company, Gilead.

You should do your own investigation of these allegations, I am only repeating what I have read.

pygalgia said...

Sorry Whig, but I'm not an investigator. I'm just an old hippie who doesn't like talking to the FBI. This story is about as much as I have to give an investigation.

whig said...

Yeah, but I like to amuse myself by assuming that people who do have the ability to investigate read stuff like this. :)

Anonymous said...

One of the National Enquirer people killed in the anthrax attacks was a photo editor who showed pictures of the Bush girls drunk.

Anonymous said...

Pussy politicians and cubicle dwellers.

Real men chew that anthrax up and spit it out and go merrily on their way.